Customer stories

Lighthouse Accounting Group

Gusto helps Lighthouse Accounting Group grow revenue by 125% with People Advisory

With Gusto’s People Advisory support, Lighthouse Accounting Group is strengthening client relationships, differentiating its service offerings from competitors and saving clients money, all while growing revenue.

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Gusto’s People Advisory training has helped Lighthouse Accounting Group increase efficiency


Grew total revenue by 125% year-to-date


Saved an average of 160 hours per month in reporting financial metrics

Money Envelope

Found thousands of dollars in cost savings for clients

About Lighthouse Accounting Group

Where: Eureka, CA
Industry:  Accounting
Employees: 13
Joined Gusto: October 2021

As a full-service accounting firm, Lighthouse Accounting Group serves a wide range of clients, from sole proprietors to businesses with over $50 million a year in annual revenue. The firm focuses on building close relationships with clients, providing them with both financial and people advice tailored to their specific needs. 

When founder and CEO Wyatt Kneaper launched his firm in early 2020, he soon found himself needing to pivot. The pandemic forced him to pause and return to his previous full-time job, but he remained determined, and in mid-2021, relaunched as Lighthouse Accounting Group and started working with Gusto as an accountant partner.

Wyatt’s team of accountants and advisors use Gusto’s payroll software and People Advisory offering to look at their clients’ finances and guide them toward financial goals they strategically set together. People Advisory training and tools enable Wyatt’s team to leverage data-backed insights and advisory frameworks and counsel clients on key business and people-focused decisions. This includes crucial areas like benefits, hiring, and expansion. All accounting staff at the firm are on track to complete People Advisory training by the end of 2022.

Gusto has helped Lighthouse diversify revenue streams, provide more efficient service, and uncover savings for clients to reinvest in their businesses.

Accelerating growth 125%

Since incorporating Gusto’s software and People Advisory expertise into the firm’s offerings, Lighthouse Accounting Group has been able to expand both new and existing client partnerships. The firm now offers several tiers of service beyond tax or payroll preparation, providing clients with more value while generating new revenue streams for the business. The company grew revenue by 125 percent year-to-date, an increase that Wyatt credits to the rollout of People Advisory services. 

Gusto also supports Lighthouse Accounting Group’s ability to effectively market the new People Advisory services, which is helping grow the business. Using Gusto’s pre-built templates, Wyatt’s team is able to easily update standard contract verbiage with details on the new service packages. 

While the firm offers People Advisory as a standalone service for clients who may not need bookkeeping and tax support, most clients view the offerings as a stepping stone for additional levels of service. Around 80 percent of the firm’s clients take advantage of their People Advisory services.

Saving 160 hours on reporting each month

The combination of Gusto’s proven core payroll infrastructure and Lighthouse Accounting Group’s all-in-one packages featuring People Advisory have made the firm’s metrics reporting process much more efficient. 

“The data that’s being provided [through Gusto’s dashboards] is so powerful, and I feel like we’ve just skimmed the surface,” he says. “We’re saving the equivalent of 40 hours a week for a full-time position.” 

That adds up to as many as 160 hours saved in reporting financial data per month. These time savings are also freeing up the accounting team to focus on more strategic advisory work. Staff can now spend more time advising clients on people-focused operations, helping them navigate challenges like evolving their current employee structures or finding solutions to understaffing when key team members take vacation.

Cost savings so great, Lighthouse covered its own fee and then some

In addition to supporting the growth of the firm, integrating People Advisory services has helped Lighthouse Accounting Group go the extra mile for its clients. With timely data from the Gusto platform and strategic people operations expertise, Wyatt’s team has uncovered thousands of dollars in potential cost savings for clients and provided guidance to help them strengthen their organizations long term. 

One such client, a nonprofit rehabilitation facility for alcohol and substance abuse, initially came to Lighthouse Accounting Group for simple tax support. They were unhappy with their existing accounting provider and were looking for a more responsive partner. Once Wyatt shared the additional tiers of service available to them through Lighthouse, they quickly decided to move all of their payroll, bookkeeping, and compliance to the firm. 

“They were floored with the level of service and the quality just right off the bat,” Wyatt says.

After Wyatt dug into the metrics, he found an opportunity for significant potential cost savings if the organization consolidated services previously provided by a professional employer organization (PEO). He approached the executive director with a more philosophical question: what would you do if I gave you a check for $4,000 every month? 

The two brainstormed potential ideas ranging from hiring another employee to upgrading or purchasing new equipment for the organization. “With what they were being charged by their PEO provider, they saved $4,000 a month in cost, and it included the price of our services for everything front to back,” Wyatt says. “It was a no-brainer for the client to switch.” 

The new possibilities made the client excited about what else he could uncover by taking advantage of Lighthouse Accounting’s all-in-one outsourced CFO package. The migration to Gusto went so smoothly that his organization completed the onboarding process in just three weeks, down from the firm’s average goal of 30 days. 

“[The client] is now starting to understand the way that Gusto works and starting to see a lot of the different financial metrics and cost savings alone,” Wyatt explains. “He has some money to play with each month, but he’s also really starting to see what we’re capable of and is starting to propel towards different goals.” 

Wyatt and his team now join this client’s quarterly board meeting to help them set strategic objectives, becoming an extension of the client’s team thanks to the firm’s proactivity and strategic advice.

Ongoing growth powered by Gusto

Gusto will support Lighthouse Accounting Group as it continues to grow its People Advisory practice. The firm will have the rest of its employees complete Gusto’s People Advisory certification program and provide ongoing guidance on effectively marketing the services to further grow revenue. The additional support will help Lighthouse Accounting Group continue to surprise and delight its clients with people-focused services to go above and beyond payroll and taxes. 

Wyatt encourages any accounting firm “to run—don’t walk—toward People Advisory, and embrace it throughout the organization as a whole.”

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